Last build in 2008, looking for advice

Hello all, thanks in advance for reading and any advice!

Just a little background -

My current rig is a q9550/8GB/Nvidia GTX 260/Antec P180 from 4 years ago. I upgraded to a 460GTX (impulse buy which was a mistake since it really wasn't an upgrade) and a couple of SSDs. That being said, this machine is rock solid and still plays everything on mostly high settings (1920 x 1200) fairly well. Absolutely nothing wrong with this guy, but it's been awhile and I'm itching for an upgrade/new system. Also looking to upgrade to a 27" 2560x1440 and need the appropriate system to drive it. I will probably part out the current system and build something for my kid.

Basic build info -

Approximate Purchase Date: Within a month
Budget Range: Ideally under $1500, not a hard limit
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, surfing, movies, running VMs
Are you buying a monitor: Researching 27", looking at Auria EQ276W
Parts to Upgrade: All new except SSDs and case
Do you need to buy OS: Nope
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: NewEgg, Microcenter, Fry's. Doesn't matter as long as they are reputable
Location: Atlanta, GA
Parts Preferences: Probably just Intel and Nvidia (unless I can be convinced otherwise)
Overclocking: Nope
SLI or Crossfire: Nope
Your Monitor Resolution: Currently 1920x1080 and 1920x1200. Looking to possibly upgrade main monitor to 2560x1440.
Additional Comments: Mostly looking for cool/quiet. Messed with "traditional" water cooling (Koolance) 8 years ago or so, don't want to deal with that again. The closed water cooling systems look interesting, although it seems I can get similar results with air cooling these days.

Some comments intermixed with the parts -

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($194.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Maybe should go for the 3570 for an extra $30? I guess the key for me is the lowest wattage CPU with good performance. Mostly gaming, but also running virtual machines at the same time. My current 9550 runs fine CPU wise, figured any i5 would as well. Don't think I need an i7?
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($79.98 @ Outlet PC)
Just picked this as it seems to be a more popular one. Maybe overkill for an i5? Any recommended alternatives?
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($127.28 @ CompUSA)
Too many motherboards to choose from. My current one is a Gigabyte, figured I'd stick with the same brand. Will also be using onboard sound and this uses the same Realtek that I have now. Got decent reviews and had all the features I think Ineed.
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($45.86 @ Amazon)
Picked this RAM b/c of the low profile and the good timings. I know 16GB is overkill for gaming, but I do run VMs and have gotten into some low memory situations on my current 8GB system.
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($45.86 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Card ($457.86 @ Newegg)
This is more pricey than I would want, but scared by ATI driver horror stories and need a card to push a higher resolution if I get the 27" monitor. Chose the model b/c of the fans, hoping it will keep it cool enough without having to buy an aftermarket cooler. My GTX 460 runs about 80c while gaming and spins the fan at a very annoying pitch.
Power Supply: SeaSonic G 550W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($85.99 @ Amazon)
Good reviews on this PSU. It's modular and enough power to run what I need.
Total: $1037.81
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-29 19:04 EST-0500)

I plan on using my Antec P180 for this and using my current SSDs in the new rig as well. There will be no discrete sound card, no mechanical HDs or Optical drives. Geez, maybe I should downsize my case too!

I believe this system will also drive 2560x1440 without going SLI. Would like to avoid that mess if possible. Skyrim is probably the most graphically intense game in my library.

Any thoughts on the Auria EQ276W would be appreciated as well.

I think that is it, appreciate any feedback and sorry for the long post!
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Best answer
    If you have the money go for a 3570k and a z77 mobo but what you have here should be fine for the gaming you are doing and you don't need an i7. That cooler is overkill, for this build a hyper 212 evo will do fine. And I would suggest going with a radeon 7970 graphics card, trust me the horror stories are few and far between and I truly like these cards better as long as you go with a reputable company, the one below is XFX and I have had 5 cards from them now and have never had a problem.

    Hyper 212 evo :

    Radeon 7970:
  2. Not to start a brand war here, but if you have heard "ATI" driver horror stories, then they are probably a bit too old to be relevant! AMD took over Radeon in 2006!

    If you don't want to fork out for the 680, GTX670 is like 95% of the performance of the 680 for over $100 less. Also look at the 7970, but honestly at this price point I like Nvidia more, even though I would not hesitate to run AMD Radeon (I have a 7850 myself)

    Skyrim high res benchmark:

    If you aren't going to overclock and you want to run multiple VMs, I might suggest a lower end Xeon e3. For example, the e3-1220 V2. It's essentially an i5-3450 with Hyperthreading enabled, or essentially an i7 in Xeon clothes for i5 prices. And the e3's use the same 1155 socket.

    You won't need a big cooling solution unless you overclock. Even if you get a "K" chip and overclock, you won't need anything that extreme.

    550W technically meets the minimum for those big cards, but I'd want more like 600-700 if it was my build.
  3. If you have a mircocenter near you, go grab a i5 3570k+asrock extreme4 should be around $300 because of their pricing.

    The d-14 will be overkill on a non-OC chip but it will work great if you are going with my build and do some nice OCs with great temps

    For an IPS@ 2560x1440, that is a pretty cool deal, but i have no experience with that exact brand so i can't tell you if it is good or not

    For the PSU, a 550W doesnt have a lot of wires so its pretty much pointless going modular with it, get this one instead(made by seasonic so expect it to perform top tier)

    Downgrade the 680 to a 670, there is little performance boost from a 670 to a 680 and maybe get a 4GB Vram version
    i own this exact card and none of the games i have played so far has pushed it to hard(besides going into 3D mode in skyrim with a ton of mods) and have Overclocked it to its max already(not much because it is already clocked pretty high so if you are not overclocking it you can expect great stock speeds on it)

    I am going with Nvidia here because i thought you would be doing some video editing which is where Nvidia has been proven stronger at this part, but going with AMD 7970 is a bit stronger choice if you are mostly gaming
  4. Thanks all for the input.

    I ended up going with the i5 3570K, Hyper 212 evo cooler and a Z77 based board, everthing else was the same. The new build is very cool and quiet. I've only dinked around in Skyrim for a little bit (1920x1200 ultra everything) and the 680 peaked at 52C. That's still lower than my idle temps on my old 460!

    I should be good for another 3-4 years with this build I think. Thanks again!
  5. Best answer selected by eharvill.
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